"Feed Poor Boys, Sir"

"I am the bread of life." John 6:35. The year was 1969. It was my first real mission trip. I was in a little village in South India and terribly homesick. I was 20 years old and starving for a good ole American cheeseburger. I hadn't had one in 2 1/2 months. The land around me was semi-jungle, semi-bush. Tarzan would have felt right at home, but I didn't.

One boring afternoon, I whiled away the hours by playing with the monkeys that forever enlivened our premises. Standing out on the balcony, I teased these little primate creeps by giving them dough balls made from a loaf of bread I was holding. A hairy hand (or is it a paw?) would reach over the edge of the roof, I would put a morsel in it, and, like lightening, it was retracted to the squealing and grunting delight of his monkey-minded buddies. What a great game!

Suddenly I realized that on the street below my balcony crowd had gathered. They were not nearly as entertained by this monkeying around as I was. One thin-faced, sickly looking boy looked up at me with bulging eyes. In broken English, he said, "Master, feed poor boys, not monkeys."

It was like a stab in the heart. In the street below were orphans, beggars, lepers...the off-scouring of humankind--mothers and fathers who had starving children, children who watched malnourished parents die, parents who would watch their hungry children watching them die, knowing they left them to a miserable life on the streets. And there I was, playing games with the bread that for them was so precious. I was cut to the heart.

Every day this scene is reenacted in thousands of padded-pew churches. whose priorities are playing games with monkeys.

--by Terry Bell, Eastside Church of Christ bulletin, Snyder, TX.

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